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When San Diego County Dist. Atty. Summer Stephan announced last month that former sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Russell would face a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a man in May, it wasn’t just the first time a law enforcement officer in the county had faced such a charge.

The Russell case also marks the first time a law enforcement officer has been charged in California under a new state law, which went into effect Jan.1, changing the legal standard that regulates when police can use deadly force.

As a result, Russell’s case — if it goes to trial — could be the first test of that new law, AB 392, that was authored by San Diego Assemblymember Shirley Weber.

Among other things, the law changes the standard for when police can use deadly force from when “reasonable” to when “necessary” to prevent imminent and serious injury or death.

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